A decision to start afresh with Hide Your Heart has paid dividends for trainer Nathan Doyle and he sees no reason why the in-form mare can’t extend her picket fence to four at Newcastle on Saturday.
Hide Your Heart, a half-sister to Doyle’s promising colt Midnight Opal, has been reinvented as a sprinter this preparation after her previous wins were at 1600m and she was tried at 2100m earlier in the year.
On the back of her first city win last month, Doyle said the NZB Insurance Handicap (1400m) is a logical progression for Hide Your Heart especially as she gets in with 54kg after Anna Roper’s claim.
“She’s a mare that’s in the right headspace and it’s showing on race day,’’ he said.
“She had one run for us, and she was getting over 2100m, but we wanted to tip her out and start again with her.
“You probably like to work with a blank canvas. That’s probably the best thing with tried horses, start from scratch and work them out for yourself.
“It seems to be her go, 1400m with speed on. Get back, balance up, and rip home.”
That’s exactly what the five-year-old has done in her three runs this spring, stepping from a Benchmark 58 at Scone to a 64 at Newcastle then into the Benchmark 72 at Kensington just over three weeks ago.
The winning streak came to a surprise to punters as she’s been sent around at $10, $14 and $21 respectively in those wins. She was $9.50 with TAB on Thursday.
“She’s defied the odds at all three starts this preparation so I can’t see why she can’t do it again,’’ he said.
“It’s hard to get back at that Kensington track and I thought she picked them up quite quickly and was soft on the line. It’s the natural progression for her, home track, you can get back and finish off at Newcastle.”
Regardless of what speed is on paper, or lack of, Doyle said that won’t affect how she’s ridden.
“There wasn’t too much speed in her Kenso win, that’s her racing pattern and we’re not going to change it,’’ he said.
“Hopefully they generate enough tempo for every horse to get their opportunity.”
It’ll be swansong time for Modern Millie in the Karaka 2024 Midway Handicap (1600m), the eight-year-old is in foal and is nearing the end of the period in which pregnant mares are allowed to race.
Doyle said returning to the mile is suitable after her seventh in the Four Pillars two weeks ago.
“She’s drawn a little bit sticky but it seems the right race and if she gets even luck in the first half she is always genuine and won’t be far away,’’ he said.
Stablemate Cosmic Field might appear to be poorly drawn as well but Doyle said in his case a wider gate can work to his advantage.
The four-year-old didn’t fire in a few runs settling on the speed since an all the way Kembla win in March but was more effective, despite being checked on the home turn, when scoring at Newcastle two weeks ago.
“It’s probably not the worst thing for him,’’ he said.
“I thought his best performance was when he won his maiden for us at Hawksbury, he missed the kick and got back in the ruck and was very strong.
“He won well at Kembla and he’s probably been a bit disappointing since.
“The other day we resorted back to riding him quiet and he put them away quickly. And to pick himself up and be soft on the line I thought it was a massive win.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he could run over the top of them again.”
Doyle said he’s 50-50 on whether two-year-old Body Of Venus runs in the NZB Airfreight Max Lees Classic (900m) off an outside gate or is reserved for another juvenile race on Sunday week.
– Racing NSW